MUSHROOMS

Definition of a Mushroom

................Mushrooms with other fungi are something special in the living world, being neither plants nor animals. They have been placed in a kingdom of their own called the kingdom of Myceteae. ut what are mushrooms? The word ushroom may mean different things to different people andcountries. It has emerged that specialised studies and the conomic value of mushrooms andtheir products had reached a point where a clear definition of the term “mushroom” as arranted.  In a broad sense “Mushroom is a macrofungus with a distinctive fruiting body, hich can be either pigeous or hypogeous and large enough to be seen with naked eye and to be picked by hand” (Chang and Miles, 1992) The  ost common type of mushrooms is umbrella shaped with a pileus (cap) and a stipe (stem) i.e.  Lentinula edodes.ther species additionally have a volva (cup) i.e.  Volvariella volvacea or an annulus (ring) i.e.  Agarius campestris or with both of them i.e. Amanita muscaria. Furthermore, some mushrooms are in the form of pliable cups; others round like golf balls. Some are in the shape of small clubs; some resemble coral; others are yellow or orange jelly-like globs;some even very much resembles the human ear. In fact, there is a countless variety of forms.



Mushrooms are devoid of leaves, and of chlorophyll-containing tissues. This renders them incapable of photosynthetic food production. Yet, they grow, and they produce new biomass. How? For their survival, for their growth, and for their metabolism, they rely on organic matter synthesized by the green plants around us, including organic products contained in agricultural 10 crop residues. The organic materials, on which mushrooms derive their nutrition, are referred to as substrates. Mushrooms are a unique biota which assembles their food by secreting degrading enzymes and decompose the complex food materials present in the biomass where they grow, to generate simpler compounds, which they then absorb, and transform into their own peculiar tissues. These substrate materials are usually by-products from industry, households and agriculture and are usually considered as wastes. And these wastes, if carelessly disposed of in the surrounding environment by dumping or burning, will lead to environmental pollution and consequently cause health hazards. However, they are actually resources in the wrong place at a particular time and mushroom cultivation can harness this waste/resource for its own beneficial advantage

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